2016-MLB-Finals-Cubs at Indians game 2 preview

After getting shut out in the opener, the Cubs look to even the World Series with the Indians in Game 2 at Progressive Field.

The Indians (94-67) made a statement in Game 1 of the World Series, defeating the favored Cubs (103-58), 6-0. Chicago couldn’t touch Indians ace Corey Kluber, and Terry Francona’s club was powered by two homers from C Roberto Perez (6-for-27, 2B, 3 HR, 6 RBI).

The Indians’ back end of the bullpen—LHP Andrew Miller (0 ER, 24 SO, 4 BB in 13 2/3 IP) and RHP Cody Allen (0 ER, 15 SO, 3 BB in 8 2/3 IP) were brilliant again—protected Kluber’s lead.

The Cubs will look to even the series behind RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA during the regular season). In two starts this postseason, Arrieta has gone 0-1 and allowed six earned runs on 12 hits—two of which were homers—in 11 innings pitched.

Trevor Bauer (12-8, 4.26 ERA during the regular season), who was pulled after just four batters in his last start because his pinkie started bleeding, will get the ball for Cleveland. In 5 1/3 innings this postseason, Bauer has allowed three earned runs and two homers.

The Cubs and Indians did not meet during the regular season. The Indians have gone 5-0 at home this postseason; the Cubs have gone 3-3 on the road.

LF/2B Ben Zobrist (9-for-40, 4 2B, 3 RBI) had three hits in Game 1, but Joe Maddon’s club was mostly silent at the plate. In his first game since April 7, DH Kyle Schwarber went 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and two strikeouts.

3B Kris Bryant (13-for-45, 5 2B, HR, 6 RBI), 1B Anthony Rizzo (9-for-44, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI) and IF Javier Baez (14-for-42, 4 2B, HR, 7 RBI)—arguably the three best hitters on the team—went a combined 1-for-11 with four strikeouts in Game 1, and it’s very tough for Chicago to score when that trio is kept in check.

The Cubs have seen very little of Bauer—no one on their roster has more than six at-bats against him—though SS Addison Russell (7-for-41, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI) does have two hits in three at-bats against him. In four career starts against the Indians, Arrieta is 1-1 with an 8.69 ERA. In 30 2/3 career postseason innings, Arrieta has pitched to a 4.11 ERA.

In addition to Perez’s long balls, Cleveland got big nights from SS Francisco Lindor (13-for-35, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI) and 3B Jose Ramirez (9-for-31, 2 2B, 2 RBI), both of whom had three hits, on Tuesday.

1B Mike Napoli (5-for-31, 3 2B, HR, 2 RBI), who has had a dreadful postseason, has homered off Arrieta, and DH Carlos Santana (5-for-31, 2 HR, 2 RBI)—who has been just as bad in October—has also taken him deep.

In limited at-bats, LF Rajai Davis (1-for-17, 2B, RBI)—3-for-10, 2 RBI—and 2B Jason Kipnis (5-for-35, 2 HR, 4 RBI)—2-for-5, 2 RBI—have seen the ball well against the right-hander. In his only start against the Cubs, in June of 2015, Bauer threw seven scoreless innings and earned the win.